2020 Photo Challenge #9

March’s theme / technique: Being Creative with texture

If you want to see what this month’s assignments are in advance then please click here. All the assignments are available from the menu on the left under the 2020 Photo Challenge / Assignments.

The six visual keys to a great photograph are:

    • Patterns
    • Texture
    • Lines
    • Light
    • Depth of field
    • Space

This month we are going to look at textures. While the structure of an object is its form, the material from which it is made constitutes its texture. Is it hard or soft, smooth or rough?  You are aiming at translating texture visually, bringing life and energy to a photo through shape, tone and colour. Study the texture and forget about the object. Texture becomes the subject here.

    • Try contrasting rough against smooth
    • Shoot at different times of the day. Does it change the effect?
    • Capture details – like the fibres in a rope or a carpet.
    • Try altering the angle of light to avoid flat and dull images. You might be able to do this with your editing software too.
    • Use different angles to discover how much texture appears.
This week's assignment - Find something smooth and get in close

Continue reading 2020 Photo Challenge #9

we’re all going on a treasure hunt

This week’s challenge from the Lens Artists is a different one: Tina would like us to search for specific items from the archives

Challenge Items: Sunrise and/or sunset, Something cold and/or hot, a bird, a dog, a funny sign, a bicycle, a seascape and/or mountain landscape, a rainbow, a church, a musical instrument, a boat, a plane, a waterfall

Extra Credit Items:  An expressive portrait of one or more people, a very unusual place, knitting or sewing, a fish, an animal you don’t normally see, a bucket, a hammer, a street performer, a double rainbow, multiple challenge items in a single image.

I have thousands of images in my archives, so I went searching, looking for the more unusual items that could meet the brief. If you click on an image you can go through the gallery and read further information about each image.

Well that brought back a few memories. Nothing for sewing though.
(the header image is of my three youngest grandchildren who were playing at driving a car on the beach in 2017 – Luca then aged 16 months, Isla aged 2yrs and Lorenzo aged 3yrs.)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #85 | Treasure Hunt

Background Patterns

My challenge this week is a difficult one. How to photograph a subject using a background which is a pattern without distracting from the subject. I used several photos from my archives because the weather has been so awful this year I have not yet managed to get outdoors to do any photography. In hindsight I might have thought of using patterns within the home such as cushions or blankets, but I’m not much of an indoor photographer. Another skill I need to practice!

My post is generating a lot of interesting comments and I am fully appreciative of each and every one of them, as it is my intention this year to examine the way I take photos and how to improve them. And it is by having other people look at my photos and point out the ‘mistakes’ or ‘flaws’ that will help me to improve. My aim is to take less, but better, photographs instead of the too many snapshots that I am in the habit of doing. So I need all the help I can get to iron out those things that stop a good photo from being a great photo.

One of my images was a sculpture (Adam) at the Eden Project with one of the biomes behind it, which I felt worked reasonably well, until it was pointed out that perhaps the patterned background could be bigger, so I looked for a different view to see if it works better. This is all I could come up with where I have the same sculpture in the scene. As you can observe there is a lot of foliage around, this is taken outside of course, and the landscape is very much used to grow plants and trees. I’m interested to see what you think of this one. Or does making the pattern more dominant decrease the importance of the subject?

The assignment: Use pattern as a background for a more substantial subject.

The original photo:

Like I said. A tricky assignment.
Over to you…

2020 Photo Challenge #8

February’s theme / technique: Being Creative with Patterns

The six visual keys to a great photograph are:

    • Patterns
    • Texture
    • Lines
    • Light
    • Depth of field
    • Space

This month we are going to look at Patterns. Patterns can be found everywhere, in nature or man-made constructions. For a photographer, using patterns is key to a good composition.

They are made up of repeated objects, geometric shapes or abstract patterns, or colours and they may be random or ordered. Visual patterns in nature are often loose and organic – think of spirals, waves, rock formations, sand.

    • Try using patterns as the main subject of your photo with the focal point on the patterns removing the context.
    • Or you can use the pattern as a backdrop to something else.
    • Try abstract imagery using close-up photography – peeling paint, rust stains for example
    • Break the pattern, for instance position one red apple in the midst of a pile of green ones. And of course remembering the rule of thirds, any break should be on an intersection.
    • Create your own patterns.
    • Combine patterns. Contrasting or complementary patterns work well.
This month's final assignment – Use pattern as a background for a more substantial subject. 

Don’t have your subject too large in the frame or it will detract from the pattern. And consider whether the patterned background adds or takes away the impact of the subject. Remember also the general ‘rules’ of compositional techniques.

Continue reading 2020 Photo Challenge #8


the Fernery of Auckland, New Zealand

In the heart of the city of Auckland, New Zealand you will find the Auckland Domain which includes the Wintergardens. Two beautiful Victorian-style glasshouses with a central courtyard and sunken pool. One of the glasshouses is a cooler climate, allowing seasonal changes, while the other is heated to a tropical climate. Just off the left side of the central courtyard lies the entrance to the Fernery an underground place full of light and shadows, large tree-ferns to delicate maidenhair micro plants. Once inside you feel as though you have entered a prehistoric forest full of arching and dancing fronds and the smell of damp earth.

New Zealand has 194 native species and 35 introduced species of ferns and lycophytes. They range from freshwater to alpine habitats, and from just a few millimetres long to 20-metre-tall tree ferns. Just under half of the native species cannot be found anywhere else.

narrow (adjective) – of small width in relation to length

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #84 | Narrow